CSR maturity levels explained in CSR cheatsheet


by GoodUp Info

CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility – is a term that is connected to both strong negative and positive emotions. Some find it really old-fashioned, others see it as the way to improve the world. We’re diving into these different viewpoints, and explain our vision on CSR maturity.

Various ways to embed CSR in organisations

We feel that different viewpoints on CSR originate from the way it is incorporated in organisations. In some cases, the CSR department might be very small, invisible and fairly disconnected from the daily operations as one extreme. In other cases, CSR is already known for winning hearts and minds throughout the organisation, embedding CSR objectives in the core business. 

Type of CSR activities determine impact

Besides the operational influence that CSR has, we see another interesting factor that determines the impact of CSR. This concerns the type of activities that CSR undertakes. We see a wide variety of activities: simply writing out checks to charities, general volunteering days, or enabling employees to donate time, money and skills to CSR causes in line with the company strategy. These different types of activities determine the overall impact and positive change, the benefits for employees as well as the company’s overall performance and results.

4 CSR maturity levels explained

The above mentioned variables – the organisational aspects and the concrete content of a CSR programme – make up the “CSR maturity”, as we like to call it. We define 4 different maturity levels. Let’s discuss these in more detail.

CSR 1.0: Donating

This is the simplest version of CSR. Donating some money to a charity or a specific cause. A great start, but very often, the organisation’s core business is not really connected on this type of CSR activity.

There is even a great risk: some might label this type of action as ‘greenwashing’. If you’re not genuine, people might perceive your donations as ‘buying of your negative impact’. You don’t want that! So let’s continue to CSR 2.0.

CSR 2.0: Volunteering

A very common way of doing CSR: enabling your employees to engage in volunteering activities. These range from spending time with lonely elderly to painting a school. As a result, employees might feel happier, a change of scenery is always nice.

The downside of these type of activities, is that talent can go to waste! Your marketing expert could have a much greater impact if he or she uses their specific skills to help out a startup in a developing country.

CSR 3.0: Crowdsourcing

The strength of this type of corporate volunteering comes from sharing employees’ skills, time and expertise with CSR causes in line with the core business. This will increase the impact of this type of CSR activity because the employees’ contribution is more tangible, relevant and effective. It really boosts employee engagement and satisfaction, because we all like to use our talents to contribute to some good, right?!

For many organisations, this is a really great way to work on their CSR. There is however the option to take it even a step further…

CSR 4.0: Team up for change

The previous CSR maturity levels all focus on doing good within the borders of the organisation. What would happen if you wouldn’t limit yourself and go across and beyond these borders?

Think about improving the supply chain, the industry, the neighbourhood… your impact would be much bigger. For most people, being supported to think bigger really sparks their enthusiasm and creativity. This results in ever higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction.

Take your organisation to the next level

To conclude: there are many ways to boost your CSR. Not many organisations have yet reached a CSR 4.0-level. Where does your organisation stand? And what are your plans and programmes for 2018? Do you see opportunities to reach a next maturity level?

We’re happy to help you in this journey. As a handy guide, you can download the CSR Cheatsheet via the form below (and share it with your colleagues). Or schedule a coffee with us, if you feel like brainstorming about the possibilities.

So, do you want to have all these insights on one sheet? Request your cheatsheet:

Download CSR Cheatsheet